Iran's supreme leader 'strongly' denounces U.S. airstrikes on militia
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “strongly” denounced the U.S. airstrikes on an Iranian-backed militia group in Iraq, Iranian state TV reported Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Khamenei said he blames Iraq’s violence on the U.S.
“The Iranian government, nation and I strongly condemn the attacks,” Khamenei reportedly said.
The supreme leader also criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive environmental fights to watch in 2020 Lawmakers close to finalizing federal strategy to defend against cyberattacks The 7 big Supreme Court cases to watch in 2020 MORE for pointing the finger at Iran for the attack at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that began Tuesday.
“You cannot do a damn thing. If you were logical, which you are not, you would see that your crimes in Iraq and other countries have made nations hate you,” Khamenei posted on Twitter, according to Reuters.
“If Iran decides to confront a country, we will do that openly … If anyone threatens our nation’s interests we will fight back … without any hesitation,” he said.
The Defense Department said the U.S. strikes against the Kataib Hezbollah militia were in retaliation for a Friday attack that killed a U.S. contractor. The U.S. strikes in Iraq killed 25 people, sparking outrage from militia supporters.
Protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad while chanting “Death to America,” smashing the main door and setting fires Tuesday, but they began to withdraw Wednesday after a militia official declared victory.
Trump on Tuesday blamed the protests on Iran, saying the country was “orchestrating” them.
“They will be held fully responsible,” he tweeted.
Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
This week further strained an already fragile relationship between Iran and the U.S. Tensions have increased after Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on the country.